We hear in today’s Gospel from John, as we did yesterday, Jesus’ reference to himself as the Good Shepherd, who lays down his life for the protection of his sheep.
As I prayed with that passage this morning, I was conscious that the sheep are not tethered – they get to run this way and that finding food (and doing whatever it is that sheep do). All of those sheep running off in every direction. And the shepherd’s job is to make sure they all get back and are accounted for. Pretty tough job!
Then I saw myself as one of Jesus’ sheep, and my first thought was “I’d stay right by his side always,” and I could see myself nuzzling up to Jesus. At that, Jesus laughed, reminding me that I’ve run far and wide at various points in my life. And I saw myself racing off.
But Jesus, the shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep knows his sheep, will not lose any of them, any of us.
I don’t know about you, but I find it very consoling that, while a human shepherd may occasionally lose one of his flock, Jesus never will. Wherever we sheep stray, Jesus will find us and bring us back. Wherever I go, Jesus will find me.